Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker has admitted that his crew made a crucial mistake in race eight of the America’s Cup last week when they did not allow their multi-hundred-million-dollar yacht to capsize in the San Francisco Bay, bringing a catastrophic end to both the competition and several lives.
Speaking to media today after Team New Zealand’s fifth straight loss to cupholders Oracle, Barker gave a candid analysis of where he believed his team had gone wrong.
“I don’t want to sound too downbeat about it, but I do think we have to acknowledge that the last few days have not panned out as we’d like,” he said. “I think where we really dropped the ball was back in the seven– the eighth race, was it? Back in the eighth race. We had an opportunity then to, sort of, quit while we were ahead; smash the boat headlong into the bay, walk away and get on with our lives.”
Barker believed that, had they done that, the team would have received an outpouring of sympathy, and New Zealanders at home could have been proud in the belief that, if not for such a tragic accident, they would have won.
“But tomorrow’s another day,” he said, “and if we race well, we’ll win.”
Asked if he would race well, Barker replied “Probably not.”
He would not rule out conducting the maneuver in an upcoming race, but said it would probably be “pointless,” as it would now be obvious why they were doing it.